Answered By: Theresa Bell
Last Updated: Feb 05, 2020     Views: 37793

APA 6th Edition (scroll down for APA 7th edition)

Personal communication does not provide recoverable data within the public domain (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010, p. 179), which means that since your reader wasn't there for the event (e.g., phone call, conversation, lecture) or he or she doesn't have the necessary access permissions (e.g., email, password-protected discussion forum posting, information retrieved from an intranet), the information isn't available. Since the information isn't retrievable, the resource is only cited within the text but not in the reference list (p. 179).

When citing personal communication, provide the first initial and last name of your contact or the group/corporate name, “personal communication”, and the date the communication took place (APA, 2010, p. 179). In the case of a published resource that isn't publicly available, use the publication date of the resource versus the date you accessed the material. It is unnecessary to specify the type of communication within your citation or to provide a page or paragraph number. For example, "quoted text" (J. Greenwood, personal communication, January 15, 2018), or J. Greenwood (personal communication, January 15, 2018) stated that, "quoted text". 

Please note that if you conducted an interview as part of your original research, information gained from that interview isn't usually cited as personal communication but rather is given an attribution because the information wasn't previously published elsewhere. Please see "How do I cite my original research results?" for more information.

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

APA 7th Edition

Personal communications don’t provide recoverable data, which means that the information isn’t publicly available to the intended reader. Examples of personal communications include "emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, personal interviews. . . [and] unrecorded classroom lectures" (American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 260). If the intended audience of the work can’t recover them, other types of personal communication include Moodle discussion forum postings, PowerPoint presentations or unpublished papers by an instructor that were posted to Moodle, organizational documents that are only available via a company’s intranet, or resources that require other specialized access, such as security clearance.

Citations to personal communications should provide the author’s first initial and last name or the organizational author's name, the words “personal communication”, and the date the communication took place, the date of the resource, or the date that you accessed the resource. For example, "quotation" (C. Hare, personal communication, November 29, 2019) or C. Hare (personal communication, November 29, 2019) argued that "quotation". You don’t need to specify the type of communication; only the words “personal communication” are needed in the citation. If your reader needs to know more about how you accessed the information, you can describe that in your text.

Since your reader can't access the original resource, page numbers or other location references aren’t necessary in citations to personal communication. Similarly, since personal communication isn’t recoverable, the sources are cited only in the body text (APA, 2020, p. 260). Finally, if you conducted an interview as part of your original research, information gained from that interview isn't usually cited as personal communication but rather is given an attribution because the information wasn't previously published elsewhere. Please see How Do I Cite My Original Research Results? for more information.

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000